Well I just got my ass handed to me.
I also just sighed deeply.
I was out on my morning jaunt and I spied a woman - a student, I thought - at a distance and couldn't help but notice her sparkly shirt in the distance.
My first thought was 'Sequins? This early in the week? Whatevs.'
And then she got up and bumbled her way down the sidewalk.
Let me add also that this week is the week students have returned to the University of Iowa and while behavior like this during the weekdays is not that common, it is not unheard of to have some nubile young co-ed bopping her drunk ass down the sidewalk at 9:00 a.m. CST.
Thankfully, I had my sunglasses on as I rolled my eyes.
Do you guys see where this is going? I sure didn't.
She said something to me and I popped my ear buds out and said 'Pardon, me?'
Then I got a good look at her: Hazel eyes, salt & pepper elbow length hair, tanned deeply lined face and the flower patterned sequins shining in the morning light.
"I don't have any toes," she said.
"I'm sorry," I said.
"People don't always believe me. They've tried calling the cops on me before."
My heart fell.
"I call 'em fisty one and fisty two," she elaborated on her state of toelessness.
Way to go, Heather, I thought. Just way to freaking go.
I believe I told her 'bless your heart' and that I hoped she had a good day.
Normally, folks, I pride myself on being able to look beyond the surface, the superficial, if you will and look into who the person is. (It's not always the case, though. Just ask my best friend. We both thought we hated each other for years before we befriended one another.) And today, God or someone reminded me to not lose that particular skill.
I'm normally a people-watcher by nature. And, as a writer, I'm always creating a story in my head. Working in a hospital/university campus, you do often wonder why that particular person is there. Are they there to see their niece or nephew? Are they there to drop off their father-in-law for an appointment in Ophthalmology? Or is one of their loved ones here receiving treatment for one type of cancer or another?
It's their story. Every single one of us is living out our story.
And while it's not always particular heart warming, inspiring, or even dignified at times, it still is, by God, our tale.
As I was walking back up the steps to my office my first thought was of that saying about being kind to people because you have no idea the battle they are fighting.
Today, I was reminded of that.
And now I'm sharing it with you.